Nymphfest Home

Nymphfest 2008

 by Dave Small Dave@dhsmall.net

Athol Massachusetts, February 9th 2008, morning temperature 15 degrees with light snow forecast for the day. This hardly seems the weather for dragonflies but nearly 60 people from across the Northeast braved the cold and snow to participate in the 3rd occasional Nymphfest at the Millers River Environmental Center in Athol. Athol has been a hotbed of Odonate interest and many may recall it as the venue for the April 2004 Northeast Odonate Conference where 150 Ode enthusiasts gathered. 

Nymphfest 2008 started off, as had previous Nymphfests, an informal way for friends to gather, dust off a few exuvia from our various collections, and refresh our identification skills. Excitement quickly escalated as our new DSA Northeast Coordinator Bryan Pfeiffer suggested having the DSA co-sponsor the event and open it up to a broader audience.  The response was enthusiastic and a virtual team was pulled together with Bryan Pfeiffer coordinating the program, Mike Blust gathered registrations and Dave Small handled the physical logistics. Interestingly the program was pulled together without a coordinating meeting or even a phone call. Amazing what you can do with e-mail and a web page…

In keeping with Nymphfest tradition the core of the two-day event was intensive hands on keying out of exuvia to genus and species. Michael Veit and Maria Aliberti enthusiastically applied their teaching abilities to steer participants though the various keys. Lab sessions were conducted each afternoon with an elaborate impromptu lab set-up complete with video imaging and dozens of microscopes for all to use.

Each morning of the event featured presentations depicting specific aspects of nymph/exuvia identification, rearing, collection, and conservation perspectives. David Fitch (MA) led the program with an in depth review of “Basic Nymphology: morphology, collecting, and curation”. Other presentations included new visual keys for Aeshna identification by Maria Aliberti (RI). Nick Donnelley (NY) discussed Aeshna ID and comparisons of Ophiogomphus and Gomphus exuvia. Linda Gilbert (OH) presented an in depth photo essay on rearing Aeshna, while Mike Blust (VT) demonstrated his apparatus and techniques for rearing late instars. Stephan and Vici Diehl (NY) demonstrated advanced specimen scanning techniques. Kevin Hemeon (NY) presented a guide to Stylurus ID, Lynn Harper (MA) and Chad Edgar (OH) presented perspectives on conservation issues. Many of the PowerPoint presentations and additional materials are available for viewing at the Nymphfest 2008 website http://www.odes.millersriver.net/nymphfest2008.htm  

We wish to thank the sponsors: Dragonfly Society of America; Athol Bird and Nature Club; Mass Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; Vermont Entomological Society; our host, the Millers River Environmental Center; plus all the presenters and volunteers for their help in pulling together an informative and fun workshop.


This site sponsored by
Athol Bird and Nature Club 
Millers River Environmental Center
Dedicated to the Study of Dragonflies and Damselflies 
In the Millers River Watershed and Beyond

Millers River Ode Pages

2008 Ode Field trips by ABNC